Your brand is about more than your company’s logo, tagline, or brand colors. Anything you write on behalf of your business is part of your business’s brand image — that includes emails, blog and social media posts, marketing materials, and client-facing documents.
Write With Your Audience in Mind
Whether you’re writing a blog post or an assessment report, you’re writing for an audience. But if you don’t write in a way that resonates with that audience, they’ll lose interest and stop reading. For instance, when writing for subject matter experts, you’ll likely use different language than you would for a non-expert audience. Or you might use more formal language in an assessment report than you would in an email.
Taking the time to identify your audience segments and understand their needs will help you write relevant and relatable content that will keep their attention. No matter who you’re writing for, consistency and clarity are key to writing effectively and staying on brand.
Keep Track of the Small Stuff
Sloppy, inconsistent writing and formatting can kill your credibility. Your voice and tone and your writing and formatting preferences are as much a part of your brand as your logo, tagline, and brand colors. It may sound trivial, but the little things add up, and consistency is part of what makes your brand memorable.
That’s why you need a writing style guide — a living document that helps you keep track of your writing and formatting preferences, including things like tone of voice, common terms and terms to avoid, how to treat abbreviations, and how to style headings.
Three ways a writing style guide can help strengthen your brand:
It reduces conflict over style and formatting preferences. Everyone has different preferences. If you work with a team of writers and editors, they are bound to disagree over style and formatting issues from time to time. Having your preferences spelled out in your writing style guide helps keep everyone on the same page.
It shortens the writing process. Referring to old pieces of writing to see how you wrote and formatted things or consulting your default major style manual for the same rule over and over adds time to the writing process. Keeping track of your writing and formatting preferences will make the writing process faster and less frustrating.
It ensures a consistent brand experience for your clients. Consistency helps build credibility and makes your brand recognizable.
Your brand is how your company presents itself to the world, so the details matter. Tailoring your writing to your audience and developing and maintaining a consistent writing style will ensure that you present a professional and polished image to your clients, prospects, and competitors.
Next month, we’ll discuss how to write clear and compelling copy, with a look at how different platforms and purposes impact your writing.
Sophie Michals is a writer, editor, and writing coach who helps brainy, image-conscious subject matter experts deliver clear, concise writing with a consistent brand voice. Learn more at (SM) Edits LLC.
Erica Holthausen is the founder of Catchline Communications, a collaborative of writers and editors partnering with executives, consultants, and coaches to transform their ideas into published articles.